BY GUS YEAGER
Ever since Christopher Nolen released The Dark Knight in 2008, nearly every action movie has been compared to it on some level. Not only did it quickly become the gold standard for the modern superhero movie, but the second flick in Nolen’s trilogy became the obvious comparison point for the past and future Batman films. Of all the renditions of the Caped Crusader to this point, Matt Reeve’s take on the story comes the closest to the greatness of Dark Knight.
It is the most grounded portrayal of Batman the silver screen has seen yet. He takes hits, his gadgets have a home-made look and feel, and he just feels mortal. The film addresses the relatively realistic capabilities and scale of the Batman, and in doing so crafts a unique view of the beloved vigilante. The film manages to play this gritty, street-level hero off of a sort of gothic (yet still modern) view of Gotham city. The result is a spectacularly dark film, a darkness bolstered by Paul Dano’s nearly Saw-like Riddler. While Reeve’s direction is quite strong, the hyper-focus on the tone is lost at times in the third act, and the film slips into mundanity at times during the last half hour.
Of course, Robert Pattinson’s performance must be mentioned. There was quite the uproar when he was announced as the next actor to don the cape and cowl, and the loyal legions of Batman and DC fans were quite worried. Pattinson certainly put those fears at ease, delivering his own take on the character that highlights the psychological torment of the man behind the mask.
Unfortunately for Pattinson, while his Batman was fantastic, his Bruce Wayne got lost in the shuffle. The Batman script (while still being quite good) ultimately fails to walk the tightrope between Wayne and Batman. On the whole, it’s a wild and deeply fascinating ride, one that any moviegoer should enjoy. It is probably the darkest Batman film to date (I would argue even more so than Dark Knight) so it may be a good idea to leave young children at home for this one. Rating: 8/10